The role of community pharmacistsand the need to preserve access tovaluable health care services were themessages behind the recent HealthAcross America: Keeping PharmacyCare Personal bus tour. The 26-cityhealth and wellness tour raised awarenessof the critical role communitypharmacists play in the health ofAmericans. In many instances, communitypharmacists are the first pointof care for individuals. Yet, there is agrowing tendency to overlook the personalservice they provide.
New initiatives are restricting individuals'access to community pharmacists—such as requirements thatpatients fill prescriptions from sourcespicked for them. These efforts alsoundermine the value of communitypharmacists. Not only do pharmacistsverify the safety of prescriptions, butthey also help patients understandtheir health care choices and offeraccess to a range of services.
During 13 stops on the tour, theAmerican Heart Association (AHA)offered consumers free, confidentialscreenings for hypertension, high cholesterol,and diabetes. McKesson Corp,the tour's sponsor, donated $10 to theAHA for every individual screened, upto a total of $1500 in each city. TheAmerican Pharmacists Association, theNational Community PharmacistsAssociation, and the National Associationof Chain Drug Stores joined theeffort.
The campaign also unveiled the"Keeping Pharmacy Care Personal"petition. Through the Web sitewww.keepingpharmacycarepersonal.com,individuals can add their names to theon-line petition to demonstrate to policymakers the need to preserve everyindividual's access to communitypharmacists.